Public health is about helping everyone to stay healthy rather than focusing specifically on the individual, with the aim to promote health, protecting individuals from threats to their health and preventing ill-health. Public health policies have made a significant impact in increasing a person’s overall life expectancy and improving health. (public health)
Public health strategies: public health strategies are devised in order to prevent the spread of diseases, prolong life and promote health. This can be done through the use of monitoring, identifying, developing programmes etc.
Monitoring the health status of the community – is a key aspect of health strategies that are in place within the uk. This health strategy helps to monitor any changes that occur in the health of the population, along with alerting individuals to any potential problems. health throughout the uk is monitored by quality of life, infant mortality rates and life expectancy (baker l, 2008, btec national health and social care book 2, page 2) the monitoring of health throughout the country allows for advanced planning of local services within the community that may be at risk of certain health problems.
The monitoring of health at a local level allows for information to be recorded before being compared to the health of other communities across the country. Local information on health is an important aspect as it is collected on a geographical basis throughout the uk, for example vaccination rates, hospital admissions etc.
This is one way on health can be monitored, as in the cases of other communities they may have higher incidence rates of certain diseases whereas others may have low incidences of diseases. Communities that have a higher rate of disease are monitored further and health promotion campaigns will be developed before being?
Put into effect in order to reduce the risk of disease spreading within the community. The health status of a community can vary throughout the nation and depend on a variety of factors, of which can include:
- socio-economic conditions
Environmental factors through the use of monitoring health changes any problems that may arise in the future within communities can be identified in advance in order for it to be prevented. For example the rise of sexually transmitted diseases within local communities would monitored in order to predict any potential problems that may occur in the future and stop them from taking place.
Identifying the health needs of the population – the health of the nation is measured by using mortality and morbidity rates of which have indicated how people are now living longer than that of their predecessors. Identifying the health needs of the population is another important aspect of public health strategies within the uk; this takes place when trends and patterns in local communities across the nation are established.
By identifying the health needs of individuals located in a particular community means that the need for services can therefore be identified. Patterns can be detected throughout the country through the use of national statistics. National statistics are used in order to determine how health can be improved and how areas of concern can be highlighted, along with the effects of ill health may be reduced and prevented.
Patterns of illness and disease can possibly be the result of certain factors, of which include; genetics, environment, lifestyle, education etc. however some parts of the country may be more susceptible to certain illnesses and diseases than others due to the patterns that are outlined by the national statistics and social trends information.
Developing programmes to reduce risk and screen for early disease – screening is the process of identifying apparently healthy people who may be at increased risk of a disease or condition.
They can then be offered information, further tests and appropriate treatment to reduce their risk and/or any complications arising from the disease or condition. As defined by the uk national screening committee (uk nsc).
Health programmes are developed based on the information gathered by epidemiologists. An epidemiologist is a person who studies patterns of diseases or health risks in population groups, societies, and cultures. The department of health produces a green paper that proposes what the targets of health should be; and is based on these decisions as to how the government implement the findings.
From this a white paper is produced, of which goes into detail as to how and what course of action is taken. An example of recent white papers can include ‘our healthy nation’ and ‘our healthier nation ‘ (1999).
The aim of the white paper is to inform and protect members of the public by influencing social changes in regards to the health of the nation. (l, 2008, btec national health and social care book 2, page 4). Examples of current public health programmes include: five a day campaign, mmr immunisation programme and the local nhs smoking service.
Controlling communicable disease – controlling communicable diseases is an important aspect of public health strategies in the uk, of which ‘involves planning to include screening and early detection, isolation and treatment, containment, prevention and cure eradication where possible’.
(baker l, 2008, btec national health and social care book 2, page 7) the early detection of a disease can prove useful, as it can provide insight on the cause and the spread of the disease along with being able to highlight any potential risks that the disease may cause to an individual or group of people; especially in vulnerable people such as young children, and the elderly.
Young children and the elderly are more susceptible to disease due to their immune system being much weaker than the average individual; therefore it is important in the early detection of an infection in order to stop this from occurring.
Isolating individuals with communicable diseases enables to remain controlled, in order to reduce and prevent the risk of spreading the disease. a resident residing in a care home that was diagnosed with tuberculosis for example, would be moved to a room on their own, in order to ensure that the disease is not then passed to another service user within the home is one example. Containing a disease can occur at a national and local level;
This can occur once the source of the infection has been identified and plan has been developed and put in place in order to reduce the risk of the disease reoccurring.
The measures that are taken in which to contain the disease can vary from short, medium, to long term measures. (Baker l, 2008, btec national health and social care book 2, page 7) short term measures – limited visiting, unnecessary travel, treatment and isolation ?
medium/long term measures – immunisation programme, appropriate medical treatment, educating individuals about the risks, eradicating incidence of disease where it proves possible to do so eradicating disease is now becoming possible due to advances in research and technology.
Advances in technology means that more is known about the causes of illness and disease along with how the disease is spread. This advance has been made possible through the use of early detection and surveillance, monitoring, screening, treatment and immunisation programmes, health education and promotion.
(Baker l, 2008, btec national health and social care book 2, page 8) promote the health of the population – health promoters are tasked with the promoting the health of the population on a local and national scale. Health promoters are based in a variety of settings, such as, gp surgeries, drop-in centres, radio, magazines and schools.
They are prioritised on local need and the availability of funding for the necessary resources. These priorities can be identified through the number of reported illnesses and diseases through local statistics. Any illnesses or diseases taken from the statistics prove to be either life threatening or cause an individual to spend a substantial amount of time in hospital would then be given top priority in the promoting of health.
Individuals who may be overweight can potentially be at risk of coronary heart disease later on in life. The health promoter would thereby ensure that diets and exercise are promoted through the use of proper channel on both a local and national level.
Planning and evaluating the national provision of health and social care – the national provision of health and social care within the uk is planned and evaluated by the national health service and social services. This is based on the information provided by health and social care professionals on a local, regional and national scale across the uk.
‘The government have produced guidelines and information to state how they will tackle the problems controlling and preventing infectious disease spread. ‘ (baker l, 2008, btec national health and social care book 2, page 8) the strategies outlined in the guidelines by the government are a series of proposed actions in order to create a system in which to prevent, investigate and control the threat of infectious diseases and to address health protection on a wider scale.
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